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Promotional photo of the play provided by Felipe Luz.

Weekender Main: MFA student highlights sex and self-awareness in one-man show

This weekend, Ohio University's Vibrancy Theater will showcase the magnitude of talent within their ranks in the one-man play "Men are Trash and I'm a Raccoon," written and performed by second-year MFA student Felipe Luz. 

Originally from Brazil, Luz moved to Athens in 2021 to pursue a master's degree in acting. Luz speaks very highly of Vibrancy Theater and the creative community space within it. 

"Vibrancy highlights the work of BIPOC artists, and they're also just a bunch of nice people, and they helped me transition (to living in America)," Luz said. 

Working with Vibrancy, Luz honed the acting talents and skills needed to pursue personal goals.

"I wanted to work on a show that would highlight and develop my skills as an actor," Luz said.

"I started to look for pieces by queer artists, but even though they were moving, I did not feel represented as a Latinx actor. So, I decided to create it myself." 

Luz said the show is "very gay and chaotic, very camp and fun, but a little bit heartbreaking at times, because it talks about loneliness and how we're all trying to connect with people." 

Luz encourages prospective audience members to come to the theater with an open mind. 

Luz is a storyteller, a skill that manifests in the show's brutal honesty and comedic timing. As well as being a writer, Luz is also an engaging performer. Captivating and bold, the performance gets to the point where it's truly difficult to take one's eyes off Luz. While maintaining a wry smile and piercing eye contact, Luz asks numerous rhetorical questions, seeming to already know the answers but nevertheless craving the thoughts of audience members. 

The show is directed by Tyler Everett Adams, a second-year PhD student in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts. Adams has been working with the School of Theater since 2020.

Adams was Luz's main collaborator in writing the script and said the process has included ups and downs. 

"It was a really great (experience), and it was a different sort of process than a typical rehearsal," Adams said. "We started with pieces of text and monologues and then sort of built the full play organically from there, so it was sort of this collaging of individual scenes."

While the process was certainly enjoyable, Adams also recognizes that some aspects of the process weren't easy. 

"When you're creating something from scratch (the hardest part is) trusting what you're doing," Adams says.  

Adams believes that anyone who comes to see the show will find a piece of themselves underneath the electricity and silliness of the way the story is told. 

"While these experiences are individual to Felipe, they're also very universal in terms of the life of modern dating, and the pitfalls of the app world," said Adams. "There's a universality that anybody who has ever cared for another person, or wanted another person to care for them, will find."

The show is stage managed by Conrad Gothard, a second-year stage management and production design technology major. Gothard agreed to work on this show without looking at the script, which is both a testament to Vibrancy Theater's energy and Luz and Adams's recognized creative prowess. Luckily, this leap of faith paid off.  

"It was just a lot of fun in the rehearsal room, so that made it objectively one of my favorite shows that I've worked on," Gothard said. 

Gothard has been working with Vibrancy for a year and loves it because of the collaborative aspect of working with peers. 

"Men are Trash and I'm a Raccoon" is an unceasing adventure from start to finish. Audience members may laugh, cry and contemplate the romances of their past, hopefully with a new perspective and attitude looking toward the future. 


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